Free Public Schools

CHAPTER 12. Educator Licensure, Certification, Evaluation, Professional Development, and Preparation Programs

Subchapter VIII. Educator Preparation Programs

§ 1280. Educator preparation program approval.

(a) Consistent with § 122 of this title, no individual, public or private educational association, corporation, or institution, including any institution of post-secondary education, may offer an educator preparation program for the training of educators to be licensed in this State without first having procured the assent of the Department for the offering of educator preparation programs. A program approval process based on standards adopted under this section must be established for educator preparation program approval, phased in according to timelines determined by the Department, and fully implemented for educator preparation programs in the State. Each program must be approved by the Department based upon significant, objective, and quantifiable performance measures.

(b) (1) Each educator preparation program approved by the Department shall establish rigorous entry requirements as prerequisites for admission into the program. At a minimum, each program shall require applicants to satisfy either of the following:

a. Have a grade point average of at least a 3.0 on a 4.0 scale or a grade point average in the top fiftieth percentile for coursework completed during the most recent 2 years of the applicant’s general education, whether secondary or post-secondary.

b. Demonstrate mastery of general knowledge, including the ability to read, write, and compute, by achieving a minimum score on a standardized test normed to the general college-bound population, such as Praxis, Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), or American College Test (ACT), as approved by the Department.

(2) Each educator preparation program may waive the admission requirements in this subsection for up to 10% of the students admitted. Programs shall implement strategies to ensure that students admitted under a waiver receive assistance to demonstrate competencies to successfully meet requirements for program completion.

(c) Each educator preparation program approved by the Department shall incorporate all of the following:

(1) A clinical residency component, supervised by high-quality educators, as defined by the Department. The clinical residency must consist of at least 10 weeks of full-time student teaching. Clinical experiences must also be interwoven throughout and aligned with program curriculum.

(2) Instruction for prospective elementary school teachers on age-appropriate mathematics content.

(3) Instruction for prospective elementary school teachers, early childhood teachers, special education teachers, and reading specialists must include a multi-componential instructional focus on all of following components of evidence-based reading instruction:

a. Language acquisition.

b. Literacy development.

c. Phonological processing.

d. Phonics and word recognition development.

e. Spelling.

f. Fluency and automaticity development.

g. Vocabulary development.

h. Text comprehension development.

i. Assessment administration and interpretation.

j. Letter formation.

k. Orthographic processing.

l. Morphological awareness.

m. Structure of language.

n. Language-based learning disabilities.

o. Written expression.

p. Interventions for struggling readers.

(4) Ongoing evaluation of students, consisting of no less than an annual evaluation, aligned to the state-approved educator evaluation system, as set forth in § 1270 of this title.

(d) (1) Each educator preparation program approved by the Department shall establish rigorous exit requirements. At a minimum, the prospective educator must achieve passing scores on both a content-readiness exam and an assessment of the prospective educator’s ability to apply pedagogical skills to meet the needs of the prospective educator’s students.

(2) The Department shall create a committee of stakeholders including teachers, principals, local education agency administrators, representatives of institutions of higher education, representatives of the Delaware State Education Association (DSEA), representatives of the Delaware Association of School Administrators (DASA), and national experts, to gather input and make recommendations regarding the options for an educator preparation program to assess the pedagogical skills of their participants.

(e) Educator preparation programs shall collaborate with the Department to collect and report data on the performance and effectiveness of program graduates. At a minimum, the data must measure performance and effectiveness of program graduates by student achievement. The effectiveness of each graduate must be reported for a period of 5 years following graduation for each graduate who is employed as an educator in the State. Data must be reported on an annual basis. The Department shall make the data available to the public.

(f) (1) The Department shall promulgate rules and regulations governing educator preparation programs under this subchapter in collaboration with Delaware educators.

(2) The Department regulations must require a minimum number of hours of training or professional development that instructors in an educator preparation program must complete in evidence-based reading instruction under paragraph (c)(3) of this section, if providing literacy instruction for any of the following concentration or certification areas:

a. Early childhood.

b. Elementary.

c. Special education.

d. Reading specialists.

(g) An educator preparation program must maintain compliance with paragraphs (c)(3) and (f)(2) of this section beginning the first time the program is accredited after June 30, 2023.

79 Del. Laws, c. 42, §  483 Del. Laws, c. 79, § 983 Del. Laws, c. 80, § 1

§ 1281. Year-long residency programs.

(a) There is established a year-long residency program, the purpose of which is to increase retention and diversity of quality educators in Delaware public schools.

(b) For purposes of this section:

(1) “Resident” means a student enrolled in an education preparation program who is selected for participation in a year-long residency program authorized under this section.

(2) “Year-long residency program” means a partnership between a district or charter school and an educator preparation program to provide residents a year-long, practice-based learning experience working directly with students, in a manner that mirrors the experience of teachers in that school.

(c) (1) Subject to appropriations, the Department shall develop a competitive grant process to support districts and charters in developing and supporting year-long residency programs.

(2) Annual appropriations for the year-long residency programs do not revert to the General Fund at the end of the fiscal year, but shall remain available to the Department for disbursement pursuant to this section.

(3) The Department shall award successful applicants funding on at least a 15-month basis, July 1 through September 30 of the following year.

(4) Awards for the upcoming fiscal year or multiple fiscal years shall be declared by the January prior.

(5) Funds awarded under this section to provide a stipend for residents may be used by a resident for any purpose.

(6) Applicants for the award may apply for a program of support for residents — including stipends for residents, benefits, substitutes, cooperating teacher stipends, and professional development.

(d) Applications for funding under this section must include a description of all of the following:

(1) A shared vision and partnership between the applicant and an educator preparation program to provide a high-quality experience for residents.

(2) A process for recruiting residents with demonstrated cultural competency and residents from diverse backgrounds.

(3) A selection process for cooperating teachers who will coach residents, including a job description and a support system for mentors.

(4) A plan to collect and provide all data required by the Department to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.

(5) A plan beyond the grant award to sustain the partnership.

(e) In evaluating applications, the Department shall give additional weight to applicants that commit to any of the following:

(1) Selecting residents who are pursuing credentials in a critical needs area.

(2) Placing residents in a school that serves a student population with a significant number of low-income or English-learner students.

(f) The Department shall convene, in an open forum, stakeholders representing school districts, charter schools, teacher preparation programs, teachers, and nonprofit organizations to provide input on methods to increase retention and diversity of quality educators in Delaware public schools and the development of a fair, robust rubric for evaluation of residency grant applications. The Department of Education shall finalize the rubric and implement it as part of the application process.

(g) Residents must commit to work in a qualifying Delaware school for at least 3 years after receiving their teaching credentials.

(h) The Department shall adopt rules and regulations to implement this section.

83 Del. Laws, c. 117, § 1